I was reading through some of the new guidelines and safety protocols on the official website for Little League® baseball – http://www.littleleague.org – and I saw a tab entitled “District Travel Program.” For those involved in Rhode Island Little League, we all know the excitement and thrill of District All Star season. Traveling to a cross town rival’s field for a quarterfinal game. Hosting the finals at your home park with hundreds of parents, family members, friends in attendance. And if I am reading into this program correctly, the premise is to capture a little bit of that excitement during the Spring schedule of games leading up to District All Star season.
It also goes without saying that youth baseball leagues, like Little League® have struggled with registration numbers over the past few years. Competition from travel teams, players just dropping out of baseball to play other sports, financial reasons – there is a whole assortment of reasons why parents don’t sign their son/daughter up to participate in Rhode Island Little League seasons. This District Travel Program is an intriguing concept and I reached out to the media relations department at Little League International for some more information. Here is Director of Media Relations, Kevin Fountain, explaining the District Travel Program:
” While the District Travel Program was initially launched in 2020, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, all Little League programs will have the opportunity to participate in the program for the 2021 season once they are permitted to return to play. As one initiative within Little League’s overall strategic plan that is focused on creating more opportunities for children in communities around the world, this new program is an opportunity to bring the “travel experience” to communities that is rooted in Little League’s core pillars, follows all Little League playing rules and regulations including our arm safety guidelines, and is structured to bring additional playing opportunity within the Little league program. The District Travel Program is organized at the district level, so leagues are encouraged to work with their District leadership on establishing a District Travel Program for their communities. All of the information on the District Travel Program, including a link to relevant information for District Administrators and Staff, can be found here: https://www.littleleague.org/play-little-league/district-travel-program/.”
Kevin sent me a PDF with some additional information as well.
If your Rhode Island Little League is interested in the District Travel Program, it is recommended to contact your District Administrator for further information. I liked the statement “the goal of this program is to provide additional playing opportunity for those baseball and softball players interested.” Special thanks to Kevin Fountain for getting back to me with this important update on the District Travel Program.